Have you ever gone to grab the handle of a door and it felt strangely warm? While your instincts might have been screaming fire, there may have been another explanation for this sensation. And every builder of residential homes and commercial buildings should be aware of it.
New construction buildings that have electrified door locks have all sorts of unique quirks that one new to construction might not be familiar with. But even the experienced builder should learn a thing or two about the new technology available for locks and door handles. Electric strike locks enables the electric release of a locked mechanical latch or bolt. But if you’ve ever passed by an electric strike lock door and felt heat coming off the handle, your gut reaction might be to concern.
Nothing is scarier than feeling heat coming off that metal, especially if you’re mind goes to images of metal working and shaping. But a hot strike lock is a different sort of problem all together. Though it might seem like a sure sign that something is malfunctioning in your electrified door lock, there are reasonable explanations why an electric strike lock might get hot.
We here are Harry’s Locksmith have found the three reasons why your electrified door lock might be hot. While it might seem dangerous, we assure you there is a simple fix if a hot strike lock is your problem.
Why Use An Electrified Door Lock
Many commercial buildings choose electric strike locks because it gives them greater control over the timing of when a door may or may not be accessed. A master control panel will regulate the hours during the day or night when a door is open, or even who has access to that door with the appropriate credentials.
An electrified door lock can make commercial or community spaces more safe and protected. However, just like any door, there are several ways that these types of locks can malfunction and get too hot for comfort.
It’s in Constant Use
Construction professionals hear questions all the time about electric strikes that are hot to the touch. But the number one reason why that might be the case is that the door is in constant use and therefore is being powered continuously.
Often this is a problem if the lock is being used for several hours a day without rest and most electrified door locks run continuously because they use electricity to remain locked for part of the day.
If a door is unlocked through the use of an electrical timer, the lock or the strike that is controlled by the timer is run continuously for part of the timing cycle. Which means that the electric power that flows through the latch and bolt has ‘burned out’ solenoid. Which brings us to the second reason for a hot-to-the-touch electrified door lock.
The Coil Pack is Old
A ‘burnt out’ or ‘burnt in’ solenoid is the result of an old strike. Over time the coil pack inside the solenoid becomes less efficient and eventually the potting inside the solenoids melt or ‘burn in.’
A solenoid can reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but once it exceeds this temperature is when things start to get risky.
When the potting ‘burns in’ it takes more amperage to power the lock because there is more resistance in the electrical circuit as it passes through the coil.
And though the phrase ‘burned out’ might seem scary, when this happens there is no reason to believe that the solenoid will catch on fire. It simply means that the solenoid has been worn so much so that it no longer functions properly. If this is the case, your coil pack may be running toward the end of its life cycle and it will be time to replace the unit with a new electrified door lock.
There are Problems With Your Power Supply
The source of power for your electrified door lock can also be the root of your hot door handle issues. The resistance in your coil will only be exacerbated if there are problems with the your power supply.
A power supply with less than sufficient amperage to consistently power your strike lock will cause your solenoid to “run” hotter. Additionally, a drop in the current of energy, say through a long wire run with inadequate wire gauge, will cause the solenoid to not receive sufficient current, also causing the lock to run hot.
On the hand, a voltage supply that is too high, higher than the solenoid is rated to accept, will also result in a hot strike lock.
But it’s important to remember that sometimes solenoids just run hot. However, if the lock or handle seems like it could cause injury or is unusable, disconnect the device and call a professional locksmith to inspect what the problem might be.
Another great tip, according to Door Hardware Genius, to prevent overheating (after first making sure that your power supply issues have been resolved, if that is the root of the problem) is to use an electrified door strike with full inrush voltage and current upon activation and then reduce the voltage and/or current to a holding level, which will allow the solenoid to run cooler.
If fixing your electric strike lock door temperature seems like a task too dangerous for you to fix on your own, why not let our team at Harry’s Locksmith send over one of our talented technicians to walk you through the process. We offer a full range of commercial and residential locksmith services and have been a part of the Vancouver, Washington community for over 60 years.
Allow us to treat you like family, as we have with all of our customers since we first opened our doors in 1949. Our services include facilities upgrades; lock installation, repair, and replacement; electrified locks, strikes panic hardware, security doors, ada compliance, and mag locks installation and repair; and even door installation, repair, or replacement.
No matter what needs you have for your home or business, we’ll be happy to help.